Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip is the Perfect Find
Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip
Authors: Tom Cotter, Michael Alan Ross
Publisher: Motor Books
Tom Cotter does it again. In his book, Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip: Lost Collector Cars Along the Mother Road, which he completed not long after adventuring in search of Cuba’s car history, Cotter proves he is as much historian and travel writer as car enthusiast. With his crack team of photographer Michael Alan Ross and copilot Brian Barr, Cotter leaves Chicago to take on the American car enthusiast’s dream drive, but with a twist.
On an exploration that spans eight states, countless homes, garages, barns, and backyards – not to speak of the innumerable tourist destinations along the way, Cotter, Ross, and Barr go in search of the greatest barn finds on America’s greatest road. They catalog the amazing cars they come across throughout their travels, and the reader feels the impulse of all three car enthusiasts on the trip to take nearly every single one of them home – the guys refrain, for better or for worse.
Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip is a little of everything. It combines the vibrant and saturated Americana than spans this historic road – what’s left of it – with the decaying and hauntingly beautiful element of the cars found along the journey – cars once as beloved as Route 66 now is.
As with Bill Warner, Cotter’s photographer on for Cuba’s Car Culture, Michael Alan Ross just gets it. His visual skills are remarkable, and he more than brings to life the sensations and the surreality of the Route 66 experience. Cotter and Ross work together seamlessly, blending their writing and photographic skills in a winding and stunning tale of history, America, and the cars that once rode what’s left of Route 66.
And it is not just for the car enthusiast – though, certainly, there’s no room for disappointment, looking at stunning pages of automotive art in its natural habitat – be it the road, the garage, or the space between two trees in the backyard. This book is also for the explorer, for the road tripper, for the traveler looking to taste the local cuisine and to stop at every vintage car museum along the way. The guys stick out the road food and the subsequent upset stomachs, expertly providing us with the ultimate road trip experience from the comfort of our coffee tables.
But Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip really isn’t a coffee table book. This story, perhaps even more than Cotter’s Cuba’s Car Culture, which is a remarkable book, is alive. It vibrates with history and Americana and the changing of the tides. Much of Route 66 is gone and, as the story shows, many of the cars that once drove her sacred streets have fallen to ruin, symbols of the America that once was. There is a stark beauty in that contrast, and Cotter and his team pay the proper homage to times past, cars past, and road trips past.
We feel as though we are in the car and on the road, eating visiting remodeled gas stations and discovering rusted out vintage motorhomes in Illinois. We are beside them, standing on one of the strips of Route 66 that is now closed off to the public, looking back at the rich and remarkable history of America and the cars that drove her.
Route 66 Barn Finds is full, bulging with information on the road, the classic cars found on her side streets, and the American destinations still around. We owe Cotter and his team a major thank you, for capturing this history before it’s all gone.